Ratkowski and Roy found not guilty in the “target list” of protestors complied by Wauwatosa Police in 2020

May 5, 2023

Barbara With

Today a jury in the case against the Wauwatosa police officer and a crime analyst who complied a “target list” of peaceful protestors found the defendants “not guilty” of violating the laws to obtaining, using and disclosing private information from Wisconsin Department of Transportation motor vehicle records.

Lawyer Joseph Wirth, representing the defendants, stated in his closing arguments that some information obtained from the Department of Transportation is not subject to the privacy act. He also stated that it was impossible for anyone to know where the information was obtained, as the WPD uses multiple sources of information.

Despite the plaintiffs’ attorney Kimberley Motley’s argument disproving Wirth’s information concerning the definitions of what is protected, the jury decided in favor of the defendants.

The implications of the decision means the surveillance of peaceful protestors can continue and their personal information can be shared with legal and non-legal entities without consequence. Because the focus was on violations of the DPPA, context for the harassment that some on the target list have endured because of the release of these records was not allowed during the trial.

WPD had an entire page of the family of Alvin Cole, the third boy killed by Joseph Mensah. Shortly after the verdict was read clearing Mensah for the 2020 shooting death of her son, Tracy Cole was pulled out of her car and beaten by the police, taken to the hospital and released without being charged.

Another plaintiff who grew up and still lives in West Allis, was arrested three days after the reading of the Cole verdict. Surrounded by 12 officers and FBI agents, Ferguson was arrested, but not before being taunted by the officers. “They told me they hate me more than they hate the blacks, because I am a traitor to my race.” Her house has been watched and she has been harassed via text by someone claiming to be a Proud Boy.

Plaintiff Pete Sparks was abducted by masked, unidentified men, only to be taken to WPD and arrested, though charges were eventually dropped.

As the community used it’s power to peacefully protest as a way to police the police, they were being targeted by the institution that is supposed to be charged with protecting and serving.

With the anti-protestor laws sweeping the nation, this verdict reveals even more how openly totalitarianism the norm of US law enforcement has become.

Photo: Isiah Holmes, Wisconsin Examiner

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